Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hello Fall!

It's hot outside now, but this morning I went for an early run while it was still cool AND before I could talk myself out of it.  Good decision -- the soft air smelled spicy, the breeze tossed about a few brightly colored leaves, and the elk were bugling in the distance.  Yes, you read that right -- elk.  I'm lucky enough to live near a trail that runs alongside Corbin Park, a 20,000 acre private game preserve (read hunting club -- this is, after all, New Hampshire) that I prefer to think of as a wildlife refuge.

Once upon a time, Corbin Park was stocked with several varieties of deer, moose, antelope, caribou, wild boar, elk, bighorn sheep, and even bison!  Sadly, most of the animals not indigenous to NH did not thrive in the park, but the park is still home to deer, wild boar, and elk.  The deer and wild boar keep mostly to themselves, but in the early mornings and evenings of September, the elk bugle.  It's an amazing, eerie sound, startling to hear in the woods, and for me, a sure sign of fall.

I came back from my run invigorated and inspired and while the official start of fall is still several days away, I decided that today was definitely the day for the latest installment in my framed mini quilt series.

If you're new to my blog, first came spring:

Then came summer:

And here is, you guessed it, fall!

To make your own little fall quilt, you'll need:

Border print:  10" x 10" - cut (2) - 2" x 4½" and (2) - 2" x 9½"

Blue background print:  10" x 10" - cut (1) - 3" x 6½"; (21) - 1¼ " x 1¼ " squares to cover the blue sections of the leaf blocks; and (4) - " x 2"

Red and orange prints:  1¼" x 9" strip of each of three prints - from each, cut (7) - 1¼ " x 1¼ " squares to cover the colored sections of the leaf blocks

Brown print:  ¾" x 4" - cut (3) - ¾" x 1¼ " to cover the stem sections of the leaf blocks

Batting:  9" x 11"

Also needed:
Washout or disappearing ink marking pen, spray basting adhesive, tan embroidery floss (I used DMC's #869), three little leaf buttons, and a 5" x 7" frame

To make the leaf blocks:

Once again, I chose to paper piece the 1½" x 1½" leaf blocks.  Tiny, I know, but so worth it!  Just make sure you follow the printed numbering on the block units (i.e. start with A1, B1, and C1) and you should be all set.

You'll need to print or copy three sets of foundation patterns (and you can find the pattern here).  Each little unit should measure ½" x 1½" from solid line to solid line -- 1" x 2" from outer dotted line to outer dotted line.  If you're concerned about color placement, it might help to use colored pencils to color the various sections of each block unit before stitching.  For each block, sections A1, A3, A5, B1, C1, C3, and C6 should be covered with blue fabric; sections A2, A4, B2, B3, B4, C4, and C5 should be covered with your leaf fabric; and C2 should be covered with the brown print.

After stitching units A, B, and C together for each block, press the seams open to reduce bulk (note:  remove the paper from behind the leaf blocks after stitching and before pressing).  Make three blocks.

If you're not used to paper piecing, here's a link to a Fons and Porter tutorial that should get you started.

To assemble the quilt top:

Referring to my quilt, lay out your three leaf blocks and the four " x 2" strips of blue background fabric.  Stitch them together and press the seams towards the blue strips.  Then stitch the blue 3" x 6½" to the top of the row of leaves and press towards the blue 3" x 6½".  Stitch a border print 2" x 4½" to either side of the quilt center, pressing towards the border.  Finally, stitch a border print 2" x 9½" to the top and bottom of the quilt center, pressing towards the border.  Press the finished quilt top well.

To finish the quilt top:

Using a washout or disappearing ink pen, trace the "Hello Fall" lettering (find the template here) onto the quilt top -- the embroidery template should measure 2½" x 6".  Lightly spray basting adhesive to the 9" x 11" piece of batting and smooth the quilt top over it, right side up.  Use two strands of embroidery floss and a back stitch for the lettering.  Stitch the three leaf buttons in place and use one strand of embroidery floss or thread and a running stitch for the leaf trails.

To insert the quilt into the frame:

After you finish stitching, trim the batting even with the edges of your quilt.  Remove the contents of your frame, center the glass behind the quilt top, and wrap the edges of the quilt around it.  Reinsert the glass and quilt into the frame, fold down the quilt's corners, and put the back of the frame in place, taping with masking tape if necessary to keep it closed.  Voila!

Happy quilting and Happy Fall!